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Friday, December 18, 2020
December 18, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:59 PM :: 2173 Views

Hawaii Most Obedient State in USA

DoJ Busts Landlord for Discriminating Against Families with Children

UHERO pushes for rental assistance to continue in 2021

Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Big Brother Is Watching: Satellites Used to Survey Fishing in High Seas 

Corrections Commission Wants To Pause Planning On New Oahu Jail as Part of Plan to Let Lots and Lots of Criminals out onto Streets

CB: … A panel formed to oversee the state correctional system voted Thursday to ask for a delay in the planning and design of a proposed new $525 million Oahu jail, in part because members said the state needs to reconsider how large the new facility should be.

(Translation: They want to let lots and lots of criminals out onto the streets and design the new jail accordingly.)

The five-member Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission voted unanimously to urge the state Department of Public Safety to create an advisory committee to “review, and if necessary revise the planning that has been done to date, and to actively participate in the planning process going forward.”

Ted Sakai, a commission member and former director of the Department of Public Safety, said the latest draft plan for a new jail at the old Animal Quarantine Station site in Halawa Valley calls for building a facility that can hold 1,380 male inmates.

But the OCCC population has dropped sharply from 1,027 male inmates on June 30, 2018 to 792 male prisoners on Dec. 7, Sakai said.

(Translation: COVID is the best chance they ever had to let these criminals out of jail and they are not going to let a few facts get in the way of their lies.)

One major reason the OCCC population dropped during that time was the state Supreme Court ordered releases of non-violent offenders during the pandemic to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the jail, but Sakai said the OCCC population was dropping even before the pandemic.

(These guys will say anything.)

And there was no crime wave after those inmates were released in response to the pandemic, Sakai said (without even a smirk). Most of the inmates who were freed did not reoffend (try not to laugh out loud), and most of those who did “were re-arrested for poverty-related offenses such as lack of housing (paroled to homelessness) and lack of other resources (like meth),” he said (tacitly admitting that releases just feed into the homeless population) ….


read … Corrections Commission Wants To Pause Planning On New Oahu Jail

HART board votes to oust CEO, search for as-of-yet unnamed replacement

HNN: … Only one board member objected to Robbins being removed as CEO…. The 62-year-old Robbins, who earns just more than $300,000 per year in his role at HART, will continue to serve as CEO through the end of the year….Rail officials will now have to re-start the bidding process ― which will create up to a year in delays and will likely add even more costs to the project….

Big Q: Do you agree with the rail authority’s decision to not retain its three-year CEO?

SA: Andrew Robbins out as rail boss; interim replacement not identified

read … HART board votes to oust CEO, search for as-of-yet unnamed replacement

HART Board Selects New CEO—Refuses to make name public

CB: … At their meeting Thursday, board members revealed they’re on the cusp of hiring an interim director who would replace him next month.

Lynn McCrory, who chairs the board’s Human Resources committee, said they still need to finalize an employment agreement and conduct a final interview with the candidate, whom she did not name.

Dean Hazama, McCrory’s colleague on the volunteer board, said they didn’t have a lot of time to conduct the search. “I think that this is the best option that we have at this time,” he said, noting the need to make sure the project proceeds without any further delay.

read … Honolulu Rail Project Is Left Without A Leader As HART Ousts Robbins

Rail project in shambles –Robbins Leaving Sixth CEO to Quit in 9 Years

SA: …  The city’s troubled rail project is pivoting to an uncertain “Plan B” to complete the final 4.16-mile push to Ala Moana while looking at the possibility of new leadership Thursday.

Andrew Robbins, CEO and president of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Tuesday, “My contract expires at the end of the month. The indication is that my contract will be expiring. So I’m going to enjoy my last several days here with this terrific staff.”

The HART board’s Human Resources Committee is scheduled to meet in executive session Thursday to discuss what’s described on its agenda as “HART Leadership Transition.”

Robbins, the city’s highest-paid employee, is HART’s sixth leader in nine years. The potential for an interim appointment Thursday to replace Robbins after his three-year contract expires in two weeks would represent the seventh top leadership change since voters approved the HART concept in 2010.….

read … Rail project faces new leadership Thursday

O-Posers: Hawaii Board of Education members oppose furloughing teachers, school staff

SA: … Teachers and other stakeholders implored the board Thursday to do something to reverse the furlough proposal, submitting more than 400 pages of impassioned testimony at its virtual meeting.

They said furloughs on top of other school budget cuts would push teachers and other staff over the edge financially and leave students — who have already missed so much face-to-face learning during the pandemic — in the lurch….

(After a year of being paid to do nothing now they will not be paid while doing nothing once a week.)

The furlough plan was on the BOE agenda only for discussion purposes, not as an action item, because the board does not have authority over furloughs, according to board member Bruce Voss, an attorney. But members wanted to raise their concerns.

(Translation: This is all fake--an easy opportunity to pander to HSTA.)

HSTA: Board of Education comes out strongly against school furloughs

SA: Corey Rosenlee: The leader of Hawaii’s public school teachers union challenges Gov. Ige on furloughs, spending on education

SA VIDEO: Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii

read … Hawaii Board of Education members oppose furloughing teachers, school staff

“The fiscal impacts will get worse in the next two or three years”

SA: … “We know that the fiscal impacts will not be temporary,” UH Board of Regents Chairman Ben Kudo told members of the state House Committee on Higher Education and Technology. “The fiscal impacts we predict will go on for years and will get worse in the next two or three years.”

Thursday’s online informational briefing was scheduled by the committee to hear about the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential budget cuts.

Last month more than 200 executive and managerial employees took a salary reduction of at least 9.23% in preparation for a significant budget shortfall due to the pandemic.

What’s more, regents approved a flat budget calling for no spending requests over the next couple of years.

“We are not so optimistic that that is what we will live with, but we did want to get in front of the governor’s budget,” which is due out next week, UH President David Lassner told lawmakers….

(Wow.  What a contrast to the BoE.)

read … UH system anticipates financial challenges as it navigates pandemic

Hawaii emerges as leader in distributing CARES Act funding to solve housing issues

HNN: … Hawaii is emerging as the state with the best practices in solving residential relief issues during this pandemic. Other states are now asking us how we did it….

HNN: Renters who needed financial relief inadvertently exposed tax evaders, state says

read … Hawaii emerges as leader in distributing CARES Act funding to solve housing issues

Unemployed Demand HGEA Members Show up for Work

HNN: … The latest weekly initial unemployment claims rose again this week by just a little under 400, now sitting at 4,654.

There are still people waiting on payments, mostly from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC benefit.

Some of them are gathering in front of the DLIR building Friday morning, demanding a meeting with the director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio.

The Hawaii Worker’s Center is the organizer of the event. The non-profit fights for the state’s unemployed, low wage and immigrant workers.

Members are pushing for three main demands. First, that the DLIR reopen the unemployment office for in-person filing. Second, that the department increase responsiveness to claimants’ emails and phone calls. Finally, they demand that the DLIR accelerate their plans to modernize the unemployment system.

In a letter to the DLIR, the Hawaii Workers Center wrote:

“We wonder what progress has been made and when direct services can be restored and claims processed in a timely way. We would like to meet with you directly and in a safe manner at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, December 18, 2020, in front of the DLIR office building on Punchbowl Street. There are several jobless workers who would like to share their experiences with you about the difficulties they are having applying for and receiving benefits.”  

HNN: With Christmas a week away, those waiting on unemployment checks get desperate

read … Many of Hawaii’s unemployed workers plan rally to demand action from state

Stripped of TAT, Kauai County Raids Reserve to fund HGEA Salary Increases

TGI: … Gov. David Ige suspended the distribution of the transient accommodations tax, which typically brings in about $14 million in revenue to the county each year. Bill 2807 takes about half of that, $7,467,500 from the county’s reserve, and moves it into the general fund….

Over 550 employees across 17 departments will receive raises as part of a Hawai‘i Government Employees Association collective-bargaining agreement signed by the state. Included are those clerical, clerical supervisory, scientific and professional and ocean-safety positions. This resulted in a $1.63 million shortfall in the county’s budget.

Bill 2810 addressed the retroactive raises. The county’s fiscal-year 2021 budget had $2.229 million for these raises, but the additional $1.63 million was unaccounted for.

Another bill, 2812, assists the county in moving forward with a new human-resources, payroll and management system, using $1.225 million from the CIP contingency fund ($127,411),…

read … Kaua‘i County Council passes bills to avoid budget shortfall

Oahu to use $7 million towards COVID-related programs after CARES Act money runs out

KHON: … Going into the new year, the city says it plans to continue funding programs such as:

Testing lab operations at the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine

Contact tracing efforts

Quarantine and isolation units at the Pearl Hotel Waikiki…

read … Oahu to use $7 million towards COVID-related programs after CARES Act money runs out

Regulatory Hearing Today -- The End of Coal in Hawai’i 

IM: … The AES plant will become the third and last Hawai`i coal plant to cease operations in 2022. 

No more coal-to-electricity power plants will be built or operated in Hawai`i. 

The Hawai`i State Legislature passed a bill stating that after commercial coal operations cease existing in Hawai`i, and there are no plans for any commercial coal operation to ever again exist in Hawai`i, no commercial coal operations will be allowed in Hawai`i.

HECO is replacing the coal facility with solar power stabilized with energy storage.

The Commission will convene a status conference on December 18, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., to discuss Hawaiian Electric’s plans in anticipation of the retirement of the AES Hawaii Power Plant on Oahu in December 2022….

The public viewing will be via YouTube.

read … Regulatory Hearing Today -- The End of Coal in Hawai’i     

Reckless Endangerment?  Alleged pistol in accidental shooting was police issued gun

KITV: … Maui Police has opened a reckless endangerment case against a Maui Police Department officer after an accidental shooting at the officer's home.  

On December 12, officers responded to a residence in the Waiehu area for a report of a man who had accidentally been shot….  

MN: Police say the victim was at a small gathering with friends where alcohol was present when the incident took place.

read … Alleged pistol in accidental shooting was police issued gun

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